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The Birth of The Octagon Theory, Part 6 (Press the paddle button to start)

The story of how I, a retired 45+ year resident of Tokyo, Japan from Johnstown PA, got into game development with Unity 3D, and why my slogan is: "35+ years of coding and only one game to show for it."

Theron Huffman, Blogger

May 26, 2015

4 Min Read

In the previous post I left off about to demonstrate my simple game to some members of the staff of C.Itoh Electronics. Let's continue...

After the floppy drive of the Apple II stopped making its grinding and clunking sounds, my game loaded and the screen came to life. On the left side of the screen, hovering in the air was a cartoonish rocket ship with its pilot sticking out. Below the rocket ship was dangerous mountainous terrain. Above the rocket ship were the words "Press the paddle button to start".

I pressed the paddle button.

I showed the CIE staff how I could control the elevation of the rocket ship by turning the Apple II game paddle knob, and how I could use the paddle button to cause the rocket engine to fire and propel the ship towards the right side of the screen.

During this quick demo of the controls an alien ship came on the right side of the screen and started shooting at my rocket ship. I explained to the CIE staff that since my ship had no firepower the only thing I could do was to try to get to the right side of the screen which would get my ship to the next level, and to do that I had to move foreword while also maneuvering the ship up and down, avoiding both the alien ship's bullets and the mountainous terrain below. If I could do neither, it was game over.

I got the rocket ship to the next level where the new screen slid in from the right with still more mountainous terrain and an even stronger alien rocket ship on the far right. This alien ship fired so quickly that it was impossible to avoid all the bullets and ended up with my ship exploding and the pilot ejecting, then slowly descending to the ground with the help of an open umbrella. This got some laughs from the CIE staff members.

When my pilot reached the ground I had to get him to run to the right side of the screen. This was done by turning the game paddle knob clockwise. My pilot ran to the right and the next screen slid in but this time the terrain was flat and on the far right of this new screen was a tower. And it was shooting red lasers at my pilot.

Like his rocket ship, the pilot had no firepower. I explained that the pilot's only recourse was to get to the right side of the screen by using a combination of running and ducking (done by pressing the paddle button), and If the pilot could get right next to the laser tower without getting killed he could run right past it and on to the new screen. So I artfully caused him to duck, avoiding the lasers, and ran right past the laser tower.

The new level that slid in was pretty much like the previous one except instead of a laser tower there was a man shooting a rifle at my pilot. Again the pilot's only course of action was to close the gap between him and the shooter by running while ducking below the rifle bullets. I explained to the CIE staff that this time it was impossible to just run past this level boss, but if you could find a way to beat the shooter you'd win the game.

I showed them how this was done.

While using the paddle button to duck the pilot beneath the shooter's barrage of bullets, I rotated the game paddle clockwise and the pilot closed the gap, until he was almost right in front of the shooter. I explained that I coded the game so that if the pilot could get a little closer to the shooter that the action of the paddle button would change from ducking to another action.

The pilot closed the gap a little more, I quickly pressed the paddle button, and the cute little pilot delivered a swift and deadly kick to the shooter's nuts. This got a big belly laugh from the CIE staff.

Down went the shooter...

The 'Game Won' banner appeared on the screen...

And the CIE staff members actually applauded!

I laughed, felt happy and relieved. I thought to myself that I had given a perfect demo. And I wondered if it would lead to something good. 

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